johnlink ranks WHO KILLED THE ELECTRIC CAR? (2006)

Sundance was airing a documentary I’ve been wanting to catch for awhile, and with this and FOOD, INC., I’m officially on a run of documentaries. As a side note, this is the first movie I’ve ever watched while holding my son. I was sure that movie would have been THE PRINCESS BRIDE, but sometimes these things don’t go as planned.

I watched WHO KILLED THE ELECTRIC CAR? (2006) on 9.7.10. It was my first viewing of the film. TRAILER HERE

The major theme of many successful documentaries lately (and maybe it always was) has been small guys versus big guys. Let’s face it, there are no shortage of major corporations who do abominable things to the common man. WHO KILLED THE ELECTRIC CAR? is a little different in that the victim appears to be the GM EV-1, an electric car that took the country (well, especially southern California) by storm in the late 90s, and then disappeared entirely.

Of course, the documentary contends that the real victims are all Americans, as our continued dependence on oil and the governmental allowance of corporations to dictate policy hurts us all. In that quest, this film is a little less successful than others. Much of the talking head stuff is done by people who are very clearly on the side of the electric car. In this sort of documentary, you often find that the most damning evidence comes from the corporate response to whatever the subject is. In this film, there isn’t enough of it. We get a bit from the GM spokesman, but I’d love to have heard more from them.

The filmmakers get their point across here, but it didn’t surprise me much to hear that big business and big oil destroyed the possibility of an electric car. It didn’t surprise me that a big oil company bought the company that made the best electric battery so they could bury it. There were a plethora of ‘yeah, that figures’ moments, but I felt like there weren’t enough of those ‘oh my God, what?!?!?’ moments.

There could have been more of the connections between the different enemies and too much of the group trying to track the destruction of the last EV-1s (that stuff was interesting at first, like when they saw the GM site in Arizona, but became redundant by the conclusion).

Really, while certainly watchable, this was a 95 minute documentary that could have been a 60 minute show. Good info, but a lot of repetition. It’s also a little outdated already. And any movie which uses Mel Gibson as one of its voices of reason is in some trouble.


FILM: 5; MOVIE: 6; EFFECT (ACTING): 6; WRITING: 4 (What is this?)

For documentaries, I will use EFFECT in place of ACTING. This is an effort to to tell how effective the filmmakers were in telling the story they wanted to tell.



~ by johnlink00 on September 7, 2010.

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